Topic: The ConWeb
It's time once again to honor the very special ConWeb achievements in bias and insanity. Who will win this year? Read more >>
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
CNS Ratchets Up Anti-Gay Rhetoric
It turns out that CNSNews.com giving space earlier this month to anti-gay activist Randy Thomasson was just the beginning.
In a Jan. 9 article, Christopher Goins gives space to Michael Brown to assert that "Conservative Christians need to take a stand and speak out on the transformation of the American culture by homosexual activism."If that name sounds familiar, it's because WorldNetDaily embraced his anti-gay activism last year. As we detailed, Brown thinks homosexuality is no different than pedophilia (while, of course, denying he was doing any such thing).
In a Jan. 16 article, Pete Winn highlights how a group of orthdodox Jewish clergymen called Mitt Romney "a dangerous homosexualist," featuring claims by the group's spokesman, Rabbi Yehuda Levin.Needless to say, Winn avoided reporting on Levin's more bizarrely homophobic pronouncements, such as blaming last summer's East Coast earthquake on New York and Washington, D.C., approving gay marriage, or blaming the murder of an 8-year-old boy in Brooklyn's Orthodox community on gay marriage.
Despite the fact that CNS' parent organization, the Media Research Center, regularly criticizes the media for not presenting both sides of an issue -- a Jan. 18 MRC item on Piers Morgan and Rosie O'Donnell criticizing anti-gay Republicans, for example, stated that Morgan "ever seriously tried to provide the conservative side of the debate on homosexuality and same-sex marriage" -- neither Goins nor Winn ever seriously tried to provide the liberal side of the debate on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
On top of Penny Starr's latest anti-gay freakout over yet another art exhibit, it looks like CNS is getting fully in line with its parent organization's anti-gay agenda. Editor in chief Terry Jeffrey apparently doesn't mind that between this and the rabid Obama-hating, his "news" organization is looking more and more like WND every day.
Newsmax Fires Up the Gingrich Hype Machine Again
After dialing things back in New Hampshire following an all-out effort in Iowa -- both of which couldn't get its candidate to finish any higher than fourth place -- Newsmax appears to be cranking up the Newt Gingrich hype machine once again just in time for the South Carolina primary.
A Jan. 14 "exclusive interview" by Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter touts Gingrich's claim that "any primary vote that is not for the former House speaker is a vote for Mitt Romney." A Jan. 16 article by Paul Scicchitano highlighted how "Gingrich appeared to score big points in Monday night’s two-hour Republican debate, according to an analysis by Fox News," adding: 'More importantly, Gingrich’s response to questions on the economy, foreign policy, and race in particular appeared to resonate well with the national viewing audience, who were invited to assess whether they felt candidates had answered questions — or attempted to dodge them — using the Twitter social media website to register their responses."
Meyers returns to crank up the level of fawning in a Jan. 17 article:
Will Newsmax be buying TV time to run that so-called "campaign special" informercial for Gingrich in South Carolina the way it did in Iowa? We shall see, though that may be less a function of desire than available TV time in the state.
UPDATE: Newsmax keeps up the hype in a Jan. 18 article by Martin Gould, who reports that "Newt Gingrich is closing in fast on Mitt Romney just three days before the vital South Carolina primary," adding that "Now all eyes will be on Thursday night’s debate in North Charleston, S.C. when Gingrich will again try to use his rhetorical skills to catch his principal rival."
We suspect, however, that all eyes will be on Gingrich's debate performance for a different reason.
MRC Still Won't Break Down Fox News Debate Questions By Ideology
Topic: Media Research Center
We've detailed how the Media Research Center has been quick to inform its readers how many questions in Republican presidential debates sponsored last year by networks such as NBC and CNN were "liberal" or "conservative" -- but not for the debate sponsored by Fox News. That blind spot continues in the latest round of debates.
The MRC was quick to roll out predictable critiques of debates hosted by ABC and NBC:
But when it came to the debate Fox News hosted on Jan. 16, the MRC was, as before, not interested in breaking down the questions by ideology -- even as it attacked one of the questions.
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard highlighted the "rather testy exchange with Fox News's Juan Williams" over Williams' suggestion that Gingrich was "racially insensitive" by claiming that black Americans lack a work ethic. Sheppard responded: "Despite his likely respect for his former Fox colleague, it was nice to see Gingrich do this. As NewsBusters has been reporting for months the media are going to constantly bring race into the discussion to assist Obama's reelection." But at no point did Sheppard attack Williams for asking a question "from the left."
Is the MRC so afraid of Fox News that it will avoid telling the truth about Fox News out of fear of offending them? Or does the MRC simply give Fox a pass no matter how egregious the behavior?
Then again, MRC chief Brent Bozell clearly feels so comfortable on Fox that he'll call President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead" without fear of retribution.
WND's Corsi Tries to Whitewash Charges Against Arpaio
Corsi does his best to paint Arpaio as the noble victim of a conspiracy against him led by none other than President Obama:
Corsi is referring here to the investigation into whether Arpaio and his deputies committed civil rights violations against Hispanics. Corsi conveniently fails to mentiont that, as the Arizona Republic pointed out, this investigation began under the Bush administration, and it could have been completed sooner had Arpaio's office cooperated and not forced federal officals to go tocourt to obtain records. In other words, the timing of this investigation is largely a problem of Arpaio's making, not Holder's.
Corsi also tries to dismiss accusation that Arpaio's office botched hundreds of sex-crime investigations, calling it an "old story" and insisting that "the city of Phoenix has five times the uninvestigated sex crimes Sheriff Arpaio’s office supposedly mishandled." At no point, however, does Corsi address the substance of the charges or explain why it's relevant that other jurisdictions have more supposedly mishandled crimes that Arpaio's office.
As he has before, Corsi denounces an effort to remove Arpaio from office, attacking its leader, Randy Parraz, as having a "leftist Saul Alinsky background." And as before, Corsi doesn't explain the relevance of such an accusation -- he clearly has no other purpose than to hurl an ad hominem attack at Parraz.
Corsi even falsely attacks the Hispanic group La Raza:
La Raza is not an "extreme" group who wants to return the southwester U.S. to Mexico -- in fact, it explicitly rejects that view.
But Corsi still isn't done painting Arpaio as a victim, or slobbering over him:
Remember, such sycophancy is being done in hopes that Arpaio's "cold case posse" will ignore a complete summation of the facts and return a birther investigation that comports with WND's birther obsession. So consider Corsi's slobbering just another bribe from WND to that end.
UPDATE: TPM reports that Arpaio is still being uncooperative, meaning that the reason this investigation is being dragged out is because of Arpaio himself, not the Obama administration.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Sheppard Approves of Gingrich Demanding That Romney Do Something Illegal
Noel Sheppard uses a Jan. 16 NewsBusters post to highlight Newt Gingrich's attack on Mitt Romney in which Gingrich claimed that "Mitt Romney's inability to control what a Super PAC supporting him says 'makes you wonder how much influence he’d have if he were President.'"
It's a strange thing for Sheppard to highlight, given that it would be illegal for a candidate to have any control over the super PAC supporting him. It's doubly strange because Gingrich has no control over his super PAC either -- to the point where he has to beg his super PAC to fix inaccurate claims in an anti-Romney video it released.
Why did Sheppard highlight this exchange without bothering to report all the relevant facts? Um, because he's incompetent?
Kessler Keeps Up the Romney-Fluffing
Now that Newsmax has unleashed Ronald Kessler to do some Romney-fluffing, Kessler is rushing to take advantage of the opportunity.
For his second such article in three days, a Jan. 13 column by Kessler touts how one of Mitt Romney's co-founders in BainCapital presents the private equity firm's experience with office-supply retailer Staples as a "microcosm" of how the firm did business. Kessler does his best to embellish things further:
Kessler even throws in the bonus commentary from his buddy and fellow Romney-fluffer David Keene. If you'll recall, Kessler had penned a Romney-fluffing column featuring Keene when Newsmax was plugging its Donald Trump-hosted debate. When Romney declined to take part in the debate, Kessler's column mysteriously disappeared.
CNS' Jeffrey Slobbers All Over Mark Levin
When an interviewee begins his interview with the words, "How are you, brother?" and the interviewer is not in a religious order, you know you're in for a huge chunk of softball.
That's exactly how radio host Mark Levin, who has a new book to promote, begins his interview with CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey. Clearly, Levin is not expecting to field any tough questions, and Jeffrey keeps the sofballs coming:
So, yeah. CNS is not about journalism -- it's about manufacturing right-wing talking points. Terry Jeffrey has seen to that.
Meet WND's New Birther Hero: Disbarred Lawyer, Malicious Lawsuit-Filer
A Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh promotes a new "quo warranto" lawsuit over Barack Obama’s presidential eligibility, making a big deal of the status of the filer as a self-proclaimed "contender for the presidency."
Unruh pumps up the credentials of the filer, "former lawyer" Montgomery Blair Sibley, citing his "a colorful history, including a grandfather who was the last private owner of Blair House – now a government property – across from the White House." But Sibley's background is much more colorful that Unruhdescribed it, starting with the reason Sibley is a "former lawyer."
That's because Sibley has been disbarred first in Florida in 2008 and then in a reciprocal action in the District of Columbia. The D.C. disbarment ruling contains the background of the case.
Sibley failed to pay his ex-wife child support, in an amount that ultimately totaled $100,000 by the time Florida authorites found him in contempt and ordered him incarcerated. Meanwile, Sibley was sanctioned for filing "vexatious and meritless litigation" regarding his divorce. According to the Washington Post, Sibley once threatened his wife: "We will litigate until I am disbarred and bankrupt if necessary."
In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court appointed a referee to the Sibley case, finding that Sibley had willfully failed to pay child support and had initiated meritless litigation and recommended suspension of Sibley's law license, for which he must show fitness for reinstatement.
Unruh writes of Sibley's lawsuit that he states that "given his access to the Internet and mobile information technology, his support could rise quickly." That dramatically understates what Sibley actually said:
Sibley also repeatedly misspells Obama's name as "Barrack" throughout.
Unruh did mention that Sibley is a former attorney for "D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey, but not that, according to the Washington Post, federal prosecutors in Palfrey's case said that Sibley's filings are so ignorant of basic legal tenets that they are "almost incoherent."
Further, you may remember Sibley as the former lawyer for the utterly discredited (and WND-promoted) Larry Sinclair. Sibley showed up at an infamous press conference for Sinclair wearing a kilt, which he justified by talking about his genitalia.
Funny that Unruh didn't mention any of this. Can the birther case really be all that formidible if the best person WND can come with to defend it is a disbarred lawyer?
Monday, January 16, 2012
AIM Bashes CREW, Doesn't Disprove CREW's Criticism of Santorum
Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Jan. 9 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid rants about Ron Paul used "Soros-funded research" in an attack ad target Republican rival Rick Santorum, clarifying: "The Soros organization alluded to by Santorum is the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). It is the source of the corruption charge against Santorum in the Ron Paul ad."
At no point does Kincaid identify the corruption charges CREW leveled against Santorum -- let alone disprove any of them. Instead, Kincaid mindlessly repeated criticism of CREW from Santorum and other right-wingers accused of shady dealings by the group.
Since Kincaid won't acknowledge this, here are the allegations leveled against Santorum by CREW in 2006, which caused CREW to place Santorum on its list of most corrupt congressmen that year:
As CREW has pointed out, Santorum has not responded to the substance of these charges. We suspect Kincaid won't either.
As a sidelight, Kincaid tacitly admitted that Fox News' coverage has a vindictive right-wing bias. After noting that CREW recently issued a press release "highlighting Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corporation, parent of Fox News, as 'scoundrel of the year'," Kincaid added, "Perhaps this has something to do with Fox News running a story on CREW’s frivolous complaints against Republicans."
Yet somehow, in Kincaid's eyes, CREW is biased and Fox News is not. Go figure.
WND's Farah: Eligibility Questions (About People Other Than Obama) Are A Distraction
Joseph Farah is annoyed. The editor of WorldNetDaily and prominent birther has discovered that questioning the eligibility of a presidential candidate can be a distraction.
Here's how Farah begins his January 13 WND column:
Really? The man whose website is so obsessed with the eligibility of Barack Obama to be president that it ignores facts and descends into the realm of absurdity is wondering how such things "get started"?
Given his willingness to overlook overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it's difficult to believe that Farah would be such a "strong advocate" of Obama's purported ineligibility if he did not "detest everything for which he stands." As for Farah's claim that his assertion "is based on fact, on reality, on verifiable truth," this ignores reality as well. For example, a new book debunks many birther claims, and one prominent birther, Philip Berg, has shot down the WND-promoted idea that Obama is using a fake Social Security number. Curiously, WND has yet to report on either of these things, and WND's Jerome Corsi has refused to debate the book's author about his conclusions.
Farah then complains again that questions about Romney's eligibility is becoming a distraction to "my team at WND":
Presumably, Farah and his WND team don't think eligibility questions about Obama are a distraction from "more substantive issues," even though no factual basis for them exists.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)
MRC's Graham Wants You To Believe Michelle Obama Is An 'Angry Black Woman'
Topic: Media Research Center
If one needs evidence that Michelle Obama's complaint about media portrayals of her as an "angry black woman" are entirely justified, one needs look further than the Media Research Center.
A Jan. 15 NewsBusters post by MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham carries thte headline "Newsweek Slams Liberal Reporter For Ignoring Angry Michelle Obama's 'Grace, Charm, and Intellect'." It's accompanied by a picture (which curiously shows up only in summary form) of a particularly angry-looking Michelle:
In the post, Graham is contradictory, mocking Obama's concern about the image by stating that Jodi Cantor's book "somehow caused the First Lady to assert she was being painted as an angry black woman," then sneering, "Black women apparently never get angry -- it's too stereotypical to notice if they do."
Of course, the image of Michelle Obama as perpetually angry is one Graham is all to happy to perpetuate, no matter how far from reality it is. After all, like any good MRC employee, slavishly following right-wing talking points is more important than telling the truth.
Is WND Trying To Influence (Or Buy) Arpaio's Birther Investigation?
The way WorldNetDaily in general -- and Jerome Corsi in particular -- have been sucking up to Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio lately, you'd think that they were trying to influence the birther investigation being conducted by one of Arpaio's posses ... or maybe they know what the outcome will be.
Corsi has been particularly interested in Arpaio -- to the point where one must wonder if he's trying to make sure the posse investigation reflects his birther conspiracies. After all, we know that Corsi "spent 18 hours over a two-day period in Arizona briefing the Cold Case Posse on a wide range of evidence regarding Obama’s eligibility," but we have no idea whether the posse ever talked to anyone who wasn't a rabid birther. Since then, though, Corsi has been fawning over Arpaio to the point that one just wonder if he's trying to make sure the latter doesn't happen, thus skewing the posse investigation toward WND's predetermined conclusions.
On Dec. 8, Corsi played up the "death threats" Arpaio has supposedly received regarding the investigation -- while providing zero evidence of them. On Dec. 15, Corsi defended Arpaio's office against allegations of misconduct as well as gave space for Arpaio to defend himself.
When an effort began to remove the sheriff from office, Corsi made sure to discredit the effort and smear the person leading the campaign. On Jan. 3, Corsi asserted that the leader of the effort, Randy Parraz, is a "transplanted radical attorney-activist " who "has made his career applying Saul Alinsky-style community organizer tactics for radical leftist movements in the U.S. and Canada." The next day, Corsi claimed that Parraz "staged a poorly attended protest Wednesday morning at the sheriff’s downtown Phoenix office." On Jan. 9, Corsi claimed that "A protest against Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer organized by transplanted attorney-activist Randy Parraz yielded exactly one protestor."
Meanwhile, WND appears to be going the more direct bribery route by raising money to help fund the posse investigation. WND's online store offers a page where you can donate to "fund independent investigations of Obama's eligibility," adding: "A portion of all contributions will go to support WND’s efforts, with another portion going to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse, set to issue its report in February 2012." WND has sent out at least three email solicitiations promoting this fund since the beginning of the year.
Of course, WND investigations of Obama's eligibility are politically motivated and anything but "independent," and there's little evidence that the Arpaio investigation has any independence either, given WND's enthusiasm for funding it. WND, notoriously secret about money, also provides no details on exactly what the funding split will be.
WND's efforts to suck up to Arpaio and fund his birther investigation smacks of outright influence of a public official. Perhaps when Arpaio is done investigating Obama's eligibility, it can investigate WND for attempted bribery.
UPDATE: A Dec. 26 column by Joseph Farah begs readers to donate to the fund, declaring it "probably America’s last chance to salvage the integrity of the Constitution for all time."Farah doesn't mention that WND is skimming off an unknown percentage of each donation for its own purposes.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
AIM's Kincaid Repeats Bogus Attack Against Panetta
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid just can't stop smearing Leon Panetta.
In a Jan. 11 Accuracy in Media column, Kincaid rants once again about "Panetta’s anti-defense views and his personal ties to radical left-wing forces and Communist Party member Hugh DeLacy." Except that's not true at all.
As Media Matters detailed (and as we noted the last time Kincaid did this), Panetta had no "personal ties" to DeLacy -- it was nothing more than correspondence between a constituent and his congressman, which is what Panetta was at the time.
Meet Ellis Washington's Smack-Talkin' "Socrates"
We've previously highlighted Ellis Washington's ridiculous "dialectics" in which he attempts to portray himself as Socrates by putting his right-wing opinions in the mouth of the great philosopher, opinions the real Socrates would never have said.
Washington is at it again in his Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily column. This time, Washington -- er, Socrates is in smackdown mode, trotting out authors he doesn't like, distorting their work in order to create a straw man for Washington to knock down.
For instance, here's the "dialectic" between "Socrates" and "Nietsche":
Gee, we didn't know that "Socrates" knew so much about Nietsche or the Nazis -- we thought it would be a little difficult given that he died thousands of years earlier.
And here's "Socrates" and "Karl Marx":
Washington's "Socrates" is even so up-to-date on current events that he mindlessly spews right-wing talking points, just like Washington himself:
Washington concludes: "At our next Symposium we will discuss the remaining five books that have caused the downfall of society and contributed to the damnation of ideas." Of course, deliberate mischaracterization of ideas and bastardizing one of the world's greatest philosophers for the sake of political attacks is far from a "symposium" as one can get -- and it sure as heck has nothing to do with anything the real Socrates did.
Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!
Accuracy in Media
Capital Research Center
Free Congress Foundation
Media Research Center
The Daily Les
Western Journalism Center
Support Bloggers' Rights!